Cultivate: A Purposeful Collision of Agriculture and Technology

Technology is rapidly changing the landscape of the agriculture industry. Because of this reality, Emerging Prairie hosted the first Cultivate Conference on emerging technologies affecting agriculture. “We named this conference ‘Cultivate’ because we see this event and space as an opportunity to plant seeds of cooperation and future innovation,” explained James Burgum (Arthur Ventures) as he kicked the event off.

Cultivate Revisited

On Thursday, November 16th, 2017, over 200 attendees arrived at The Stage at Island Park for an afternoon of exploring the convergence of agriculture and technology. With the help of supporting production partner, Livewire, and musical performances by the Cropdusters, The Stage at Island Park was transformed into an interactive conference with 20 presenters, networking breaks, and a farmer’s panel. “In 2008, we wouldn’t be having this conversation…but there is more money being spent than ever before in agriculture technology, especially in our region,” said emcee and presenter Dr. William Wilson.

Over the course of the 5-hour conference, farmers, software engineers, and capital investors were connecting during the fifteen-minute breaks. The common dialogue among the 20 presenters focused on efficiency, integrating data onto mobile platforms, scalability, and statistically and scholarly insight. With presentations ranging from 4 to 12 minutes, the momentum was building towards each break for networking to take place. The Cultivate Conference delivered on its promise to explore the intersection of agriculture and technology as the farmer’s panel took the stage during the last session. “We strove to find presenters from all areas of these industries that would spark conversation…. What took place at Cultivate provided a great opportunity for communication between honest farmers, aspiring technology companies, and the people that invest in them,” explained Lindsay Breuler, Conference Director and Development Associate for Emerging Prairie. 

Towards the Future

The Emerging Prairie team collaborated with the different spheres that intersect the agriculture and technology industry. Several sponsors joined together financially to provide this regional conference for agriculture technology. Agweek and Bushel are two sustaining partners that believe in the potential of the conference to accelerate the interactions of farmers, technology companies, and capital investors.

“By sponsoring this event we are showing that we are believers in the intersections of farmers and the technology that is coming their way… we want to be a part in bringing these two groups together,” explained Katie Pinke, Publisher of Agweek.

“We foresee Cultivate impacting the way Ag tech firms look at the solutions they provide… Cultivate gives companies a better understanding of what farmers actually want, and more importantly, need,” said Jake Joraanstad, CEO of Myriad Mobile and Bushel.

The Emerging Prairie team, along with supporting sponsors, is eager for the next installment of Cultivate in 2018. The next Cultivate conference is scheduled for March 22, 2018, in Fargo, North Dakota.

Brent McNeal